We’re continuing our look back at DZG across the decades as part of our 80th anniversary celebrations.
Today we’re turning back the clock to the 1950’s and the opening of the Reptile House.
The building was opened in May 1956 by British ornithologist and conservationist, Sir Peter Scott, who founded the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
The new addition to the site allowed new exotic species to be kept at DZG and began the phasing out of the Tecton Reptillary – now home to our meerkat mob – which housed snakes up until the late 1970s.
A huge success for DZG’s reptile keepers came in 1977 when we were the first zoo in Britain to breed a Nile crocodile.
The hatchling was named Caeser and made headlines across the country – and is pictured above with former zoo receptionist, Sue Hodges.
Fast forward four decades to 2013 and the Reptile House – which was extended to include the two pools in the 1980s – underwent a £15,000 revamp and was re-opened by BBC presenter and ecologist, Mike Dilger.
Today, overseen by Senior Keeper Sam Grove, pictured above with Mike Dilger, it boasts a variety of species, including boas, lizards, pythons, turtles, ratsnakes, Nile monitors, dwarf crocodiles, frilled lizards and Rhinoceros iguanas and is one of the most popular attractions on site.